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J Immunol. 2007 Oct 1;179(7):4492-502.

T regulatory cells control numbers of NK cells and CD8alpha+ immature dendritic cells in the lymph node paracortex.

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Institute of Research in Immunology and Cancer, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


The spleen contains numerous NK cells whose differentiation profile is characterized by a preponderance of mature elements located mainly in the red pulp. In contrast, lymph nodes (LNs) contain few NK cells and they are sited mostly in T cell zones and skewed toward immature developmental stages. We show that, in mice, naturally occurring CD4+ Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells are both necessary and sufficient to repress accumulation of NK cells in resting LNs. Moreover, we present evidence that Treg cells hamper generation of mature NK cells through short-range interactions with NK precursors. In turn, mature NK cells specifically regulate the amount of CD8alpha+ phenotypically immature dendritic cells present in LN T cell zones. We propose that the dominant influence of Treg cells on NK cell precursors and CD8alpha+ immature dendritic cells explains why "quiescent" LNs in the absence of infection function as privileged sites for induction and maintenance of tolerance to peripheral Ags.

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